Kim Uchiyama is an American abstract artist whose works use color to create light and form which activate the metaphysical potential of pictorial space. Uchiyama studied art and literature at Drake University in Des Moines, IA and pre-Renaissance art history in Florence, Italy. She has studied art at Yale’s Summer School of Art & Music, Queens College and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. Her fellowships include the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Auvillar, France and BAU Institute, Otranto, Italy. She is a member of American Abstract Artists.
Uchiyama’s watercolors convey brimming bands of enigmatic light. She employs saturated color to establish an overarching chorus, each band delineating its unique voice. The precise arrangement, like notes of a song, transfers energy from one moment to the next.
Uchiyama works with watercolor on Arches paper and oil paint on canvas and linen. She develops multiple images simultaneously. To begin each work, she waits to “see” an initial color on the blank surface before applying it to her ground. Each consecutive color builds on that original impulse to create a grid comprised of color shapes. Each layer possesses unique physical and material properties: some are opaque; others translucent; some are painterly; others flat. Each choice the artist makes serves to create a dynamic, multi-faceted composition that invites the viewer’s eye to move along with her and experience the way the painting was made.
One of Uchiyama’s inspirations was her teacher, the painter Nicolas Carone, who had himself studied with Modernist master Hans Hofmann. Uchiyama shares the emphasis that Carone and Hofmann placed on color, pictorial space and the architecture of painting. She mobilizes these elements in her compositions to create a singular tension, harmony and rhythm. Uchiyama is frequently inspired by the light and atmosphere of a specific place or landscape encountered in her travels. She uses color to communicate an emotive essence or feeling of that place – its light and shadow, its weight.
Art critic Michelle Aldredge says:
Art critic Michelle Aldredge says about Uchiyama’s work:
Uchiyama has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, with recent solo exhibitions at Fox Gallery, NY, NY, Headwater Contemporary, Telluride, CO, and Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, Bridgehampton, NY. Upcoming solo exhibitions include John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY and Galleria Agora, Palermo, Italy. Uchiyama’s work has been reviewed in ARTNews, The Brooklyn Rail, The New Criterion, Hyperallergic magazine and The New York Times.
She lives and works in New York.
Featured image: Kim Uchiyama – portrait. Courtesy of Stephanie Buhmann, New York Studio Conversations, Part II, May 2018